Thursday, February 05, 2004

We will neither be completely right nor completely wrong

Stupid Hollywood remake idea of the week: Bewitched. Nicole Kidman.

The new chair of the FEC, Bradley Smith, says the Post, doesn’t believe in campaign finance law, any of it. Unreassuring quote: “I'm not going to get sucked into this 'Will you enforce the law?' stuff. I just don't want to answer it.”

Followup: a district judge blocked the execution of the guy who defended himself dressed as a cowboy.

Headline of the day, from AP: “3 Accused of Putting Hairpieces on Cows.”

Secretary of War Rummy Rumsfeld says that when he said of Iraqi WMDs “We know where they are,” he actually was referring to suspect sites.

Ralph Nader tells the Post that he is “Still testing the waters” about a possible presidential run. I thought he was no longer a Green?

“Testing the waters”, Green, get it?

Georgia evolves: evolution is back on the curriculum.

Salon has a good review of the state of our knowledge of Bush’s National Guard lost weekend, I mean lost year. Although it doesn’t mention that when he didn’t take his physical, it was the first time there was a drug test associated with the physical. I didn’t know that a reward of $3,500 had been issued in 2000 for anyone who saw Bush show up in Alabama during that year. (While I was reading this on Opera, the advertising window showed a link to “Join the National Guard.”) The current R spin is that he couldn’t have done anything wrong because he got an honorable discharge. Ah, the old “never been convicted” standard. Personally, I’m wondering why, if he wasn’t fulfilling his National Guard obligations, he didn’t have his ass shipped off to Vietnam. In fact, let’s give him a rifle and drop him in Vietnam right now.

Even without knowing all the details (most of which could be easily cleared up if Bush released his full military records), without dark hinting about the drug test such as I made above, without going beyond the proven, Kerry or whoever could blow Bush out of the water. Because Bush made a promise when he entered the Texas Air National Guard, and got a pass on Vietnam on the basis of that promise, that he would be prepared to defend his country (cough) if called upon. By not showing up for his physical and having his flying license suspended, he failed to keep that promise. It doesn’t matter if he was technically AWOL or not, although if he was that’s certainly icing on the cake.

Michael Kinsley has a good piece on D voters trying to pick an “electable” candidate, i.e., one they think R’s would go for. And I’m working on a new joke, brought on by nausea at the idea of watching another debate with the D candidates: the last time there was so much charisma in one room was when Al Gore dined alone.

I thought the reason R legislatures were cancelling primaries this year was to deny publicity to the D’s when Bush was unopposed. As it turns out, Bush is doing quite badly, even when he’s the only person on the ballot, as in NH. When there’s someone else...well, one Bill Wyatt ( “The Other White Meat”--took more than 10% in Oklahoma. A state or two have quickly cancelled primaries since then. He’s against the war and immigration, but his website is kinda fun. He says of the military service people are using as a qualification: “I can start a campaign based on my non-service in the military. I fought no wars and don’t plan on fighting any in the future. I use my brains to avoid conflict. What is this macho crap? Joining the military and shooting people is like going to the fair, they’ll let anybody in and give you a gun, big deal.”

In the exciting world of scientific intelligence, Tom Ridge says that his gut tells him he averted a terrorist attack with the last orange alert scare. And George Tenet of the CIA says “In the intelligence business, you are never completely wrong or completely right. When the facts of Iraq are all in, we will neither be completely right nor completely wrong.” $40 billion a year well spent.

Pakistan’s former chief weaponeer, Dr. KHAAAAAAAN! is pardoned after saying that only he, and certainly not acting with the knowledge of the military, as he said yesterday, sold nuclear technology to everyone with a MasterCard. Man, I thought the Bushies did lousy cover-ups!

Still, that’s the template for all of this week’s attempts at scandal-containment, from Manuel Miranda’s resignation to George Tenet’s attempt to resist being made the scape-goat.

“A 15-year-old Hong Kong boy survived after leaping 20 storeys to escape taunts by his brother for losing in a computer game. He landed on the awning of a shop on the ground floor of his block, Sing Tao newspaper said.”

Jeez, I don’t know if it’s even worthwhile to watch ER tonight, now that the 80-year old woman’s breast has been edited out.

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